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Herceptin decis'n a blow, not politicians' to make

8 August 2008

Herceptin decision a blow, but not for politicians to make

Pharmac's decision to turn down additional funding to extend Herceptin funding from 9 weeks to 12 months is a bitter blow for many New Zealand women, Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"Many women will be devastated that they are being denied an apparently life saving drug," Ms Kedgley says.

"However, politicians must respect the independence of Pharmac and the ability of their expert committee to make decisions based on clinical considerations.

"We cannot have pork barrel politics, or politicians intervening to decide which drugs should get funded, and which should not. This would result in drugs being funded because they had the most effective lobbyists, rather than necessarily for clinical reasons.

"Politicians do not have the clinical expertise to make decisions about which drugs to fund. However much we might wish to interfere, we must leave it to experts to decide.

"There were two petitions relating to Herceptin before the Health select committee, and Pharmac's decision would increase interest in the consideration of these petitions", Ms Kedgley says.


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